Soccer Odds, Best Bets & Predictions: Lyon vs. Dijon, Strasbourg vs. Nice, Angers vs. Bordeaux, Saint Etienne vs. Lorient

Credit:

SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Majeed Waris.

  • Week 2 of the 2020-21 Ligue 1 season gets underway at 3 p.m. ET on Friday.
  • BJ Cunningham previews the slate and suggests his best bet for Lyon vs. Dijon, Strasbourg vs. Nice, Angers vs. Bordeaux and Saint Etienne vs. Lorient

After a fairly uneventful opening weekend in Ligue 1, we have only an eight-match slate as PSG, Lens, Brest and Marseille will not be in action this weekend. Let’s take a look at four of the eight matches on the card.

Lyon vs. Dijon

Lyon Odds -315 [BET NOW]
Dijon Odds +800 [BET NOW]
Draw Odds +410 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (-152/+125) [BET NOW]
Time Fri., 3 p.m. ET

All odds as of Thursday night and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Lyon was really unlucky to finish last season in seventh place. Based on expected points, it should have been four spots higher in the table and in a Champions League spot. Its strength is in its defense. It had the second-best record in Ligue 1, with only 0.88 xG allowed per match. The defensive record was even better at home, allowing only 0.81 xG per match.

It struggled somewhat offensively during the 2018-19 campaign, only scoring 1.29 xG per match. It hasn’t made any significant signing yet this offseason, so it’s hard to imagine its offense will improve.

With a great defensive record and a below-average offense, only 46% of its matches and 27% of its matches at home went over 2.5 goals.

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Dijon

Dijon put up a terrible offensive performance in the opening match against Angers, only generating 0.74 expected goals on nine shots.

Les Hiboux has been in the relegation battle for the past few years now and just barely survived it due to the pandemic.

Dijon ranked 17th in terms of expected points and had an expected goal differential of -11.92 in 28 matches. Offense proved to be its main issue. It only managed to score 0.99 expected goals per match, which ranked in the bottom three of Ligue 1.

This Dijon squad lacks the talent required to stay up in the top flight. According to Transfermarkt, it has the lowest total transfer value of any team in Ligue 1, not including the two newly-promoted teams (Lens & Lorient).

With goal-scoring being an issue for Dijon, its matches averaged 2.29 total expected goals last season. That led to having 53% of its matches finishing with two goals or less.

Projections and Pick

I honestly don’t know how Dijon is going to score in this match, but I also can’t trust Lyon’s offense to cover -1.5. Since I have 2.24 goals projected for this match, I am going to back Under 2.5 goals at +125 and would bet it up to +105.

Pick: Under 2.5 (+125 up to +105)

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Strasbourg vs. Nice

Strasbourg Odds +117 [BET NOW]
Nice Odds +235 [BET NOW]
Draw Odds +230 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (+106/-132) [BET NOW]
Time Sat., 3 p.m. ET

Strasbourg

Les coureurs opened their 2020-21 with a disappointing loss to newly-promoted Lorient. They were obliterated in the expected goals battle 2.89-0.33, which was surprising for a team that beat up on squads below it in the table last season.

Strasbourg improved from its -7.92 expected goal differential during the 2018-19 campaign to a +1.10 expected goal differential last season. That’s because it improved its offensive output from 1.07 xG in 2018-19 to 1.28 xG in 2019-20. That may not seem like a big leap, but its defense remained consistent between seasons, so an increase led to a much higher expected points per match compared to 2018-19.

Most of Strasbourg’s success last season came at the Meinau Stadium, where it accumulated a +6.89 xG differential. Its matches at home also saw a ton of scoring, as 64% of its matches went over 2.5 goals. With one of the worst defensive teams from last season coming to town, I think we’ll see the goal-scoring continue.

Nice

Les Aiglons opened its season with a 2-1 win over newly-promoted Lens, but it was incredibly lucky to grab all three points. It lost the expected goals battle 2.86-0.14, indicating it should’ve lost the match, 3-0.

That type of luck is nothing new to Nice, as it was one of the more overrated teams during the 2019-20 Ligue 1 season. It finished in sixth place, but based on expected points, it should have finished seven spots lower in the table.

Nice was incredibly fortunate both offensively and defensively. Comparing its expected goals to its actual goals, you can see they are a house of cards waiting to fall.

As you can also see, Nice’s matches last season were really high-scoring for Ligue 1 at 2.83 expected goals per match. That high number of expected goals led to 61% of its matches going over 2.5 goals. Playing against another relatively high-scoring team like Strasbourg should produce a lot of goals.

Projections and Pick 

Matches involving Nice always produce a lot of goals, and this match against Strasbourg should be no different. Since I have 3.05 goals projected for this match, I am going to back Over 2.5 goals at +100 (DraftKings), and I would play it up to -108.

Pick: Over 2.5 goals (+100 up to -108)

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Angers vs. Bordeaux

Angers Odds +120 [BET NOW]
Bordeaux Odds +245 [BET NOW]
Draw Odds +215 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 1.5 (-200/+160) [BET NOW]
Time Sun., 9 a.m. ET

Angers

Angers opened its season with a 1-0 victory at Dijon. Its offense was stellar, creating three big chances (>35% chance of scoring) and 1.60 expected goals, which was well above its average last season.

Angers had the third-best defensive team in Ligue 1 last year, and it rode that defense to a 10th-place finish. It only allowed 0.93 expected goals per match last season.

Most of Angers’ success came at the Raymond Kopa Stadium, where it won eight of its 15 home matches last season. It found tremendous success against teams outside the top six at home, collecting 26 of a possible 33 points in 11 matches. It proved to be dominant in those matches, winning by an average of +0.57 expected goals per match (1.35 xGF, 0.79 xGA). With its stellar defense, I think Bordeaux will struggle to score on Sunday morning.

Bordeaux

Bordeaux’s 2020-21 campaign started with a 0-0 draw at home against Nantes last weekend. It had a man sent off in the 20th minute, so it only generated 0.44 expected goals.

‎Les Girondins were really fortunate offensively last season. They averaged 1.42 goals per match, but their expected goals were only 1.09 per match. They also struggled on the road last season, recording a -6.99 expected goal differential. Without making any significant moves in the offseason, it’s hard to see how Bordeaux is going to improve offensively, especially against one of the best defenses in Ligue 1.

Projections and Pick

Even though Angers struggles offensively, I think it’s undervalued on Sunday against an overrated Bordeaux offense. Since I have Angers projected at -105, I think there is value on them at +120 (DraftKings), but I would only play it down to +115.

Pick: Angers (+120)

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Saint Etienne vs. Lorient

Saint Etienne Odds +128 [BET NOW]
Lorient Odds +215 [BET NOW]
Draw Odds +215 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (+130/-162) [BET NOW]
Time Sun., 9 a.m. ET

Saint Etienne

Les Verts’ 17th place finish last season was their worst mark in 10 years. Their main issue was their defense, which allowed 1.61 goals per match, ranking 17th in Ligue 1. They didn’t make any significant moves during the transfer window, so it’s hard to imagine their defense will improve.

Saint Etienne struggled in front of net last season, scoring only 1.07 expected goals per match. However, playing against a newly promoted side that didn’t have a great defensive record in Ligue 2 last season should provide it with a good opportunity to improve offensively.

Lorient

Lorient had a dream start to its return to Ligue 1, beating Strasbourg, 3-1, on opening weekend. It was dominant offensively, creating 2.86 expected goals. It’ll have a great opportunity to reproduce that offensive output against one of the worst defenses in Ligue 1 last year.

The reason Lorient placed atop the Ligue 2 table last season was due to its offense, which averaged 1.75 xG per match. It also boasted the third-ranked defense, allowing only 1.26 expected goals per match. The large number of total expected goals per match (3.01) led to 57% of its matches going over 2.5 goals.

Projections and Pick

Since I have 3.02 goals projected for this match, I think there is value on Over 2.5 goals at +130 (DraftKings) and would bet it up to -107.

Pick: Over 2.5 (+130 up to -107)

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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